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Dissertation grade

I am aiming for a first next year, have done well in all of my assignments, but gotten a few bad ones that have dragged all of my grades down to a low 2:1 on average. I've worked out that I have to get around 76 on my dissertation to get a first, how likely is this? I only ask this because my lecturer has told me that getting anything above 78 is extremely rare, close to impossible, and I can't seem to find what a high first looks like as anything online that I can find is only labelled as first without a specific grade. Is there anything online that can help me get a better idea of what I'm looking for? Or is it only on very rare occasions that grades like this are awarded, and so I should lower my expectations? Thankyou
Reply 1
Those marks are comparable to where I work and 76-78 would be typical of top notch grade for a Dissertation.
To get this kind of mark you have to hit high on each assessment criteria, so the first thing i would do is take apart the assessment brief to identify where the marks are allocated, weightings etc.
Is there one siubmission only for the module, or more than one (sometimes the marks are split 80/20, with 80 for the finished diss and the 20 for a proposal).
To give yourself the best chance of attaining the best possible grade, you need to make sure everything is covered and more.
Reply 2
It’s only one submission, so a lot of pressure! I’m looking to find my diss topic this year to give myself a head start. My main struggle is that the rubric is always quite vague. With objectives like “clear and concise evaluation” it’s hard to know how far I am expected to focus on particular things. Essentially, my question is how often are grades like this given out? Are they within reach for typical students or am I required to produce an astronomically exceptional piece of work? Thankyou
Reply 3
Grades like this are indeed given out but I agree that anything over 78/80 is extremely rare where I am too. I can't comment on your particular university. You could ask the module leader if there is any info about % of students who attain firsts for the Diss module. Also, check out who supervises them, as these may be tutors you have encountered before and whose marking you are familiar with. Speak to as many tutors as you can.

If you have a year to plan things out, then have a look at sample work (your library may keep copies) or the module leader might post examples on your VLE. Once you start the module, it's essential to make the absolute most of feedback opportunities.

I think it's important to maintain a realistic attitude throughout though. if you fixate on getting a particular grade, it could become very stressful. Better to work hard but to also try to enjoy the process of researching and writing.

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